I think Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki is a good “big financial picture” book that can help some re-frame the way they think about money and the impact money has on their lives. He talks about various Financial IQs and how the rules of money has changed, all of which are important ideas to think about. I’m not saying he’s right, but he certainly raises questions that require additional investigation. I don’t think you should take anyone’s opinions, and that’s what a book like this is really about, as pure gospel without reviewing the details for yourself. For an example of this, let’s take a look at one of the rules that have changed, according to Kiyosaki.
Kiyosaki repeatedly states that the rules of money changed in 1971. 1971 was the year that President Nixon took the United States off the gold standard. Kiyosaki goes on to explain how that turned our dollars from “money” to “currency,” and how all currencies will eventually move towards being worthless. Besides being a little inflammatory and doomsday-ish, the point is somewhat valid as the concept of inflation is just that – our money is worth less and less each year. Is this true?
If every nation’s money is pegged to gold, what you have are pieces of paper worth exchangeable for different amounts of gold. If you have that, then exchange rates are all fixed and there is no inflation. What ends up happening is that instead of inflation handling the differing growth rates in countries, you would have a shifting of gold reserves. If a country’s gold reserves go down, then you end up deflating and have to pay people less and then they can’t pay their debts and all sorts of bad things happen (at least according to this interesting article by Peter Bernstein. So… while inflation seems bad, it’s not as bad as deflation. So, the lesson of the day is to trust but verify.
The five basic financial IQs are:
- Making more money.
- Protecting your money.
- Budgeting your money.
- Leveraging your money.
- Improving your financial information.
The importance of these financial IQs is that these are the five areas you need to educate yourself on about money, having a high IQ in one area does not mean you have a high IQ in any of the others. Just because you’re good at making money doesn’t mean you’re good at protecting it or leveraging it. I think we can all agree with that but we’d also agree that this is hardly groundbreaking information. Let’s take a look at the first Financial IQ: Making more money.
IQ #1. Make more money!
The key to making more money is learning from your mistakes and solving your problems. Kiyosaki begins this chapter with stories of his younger years as he left a lucrative job as a third mate on an oil tanker to enlist in the Marines for Vietnam, then opting to become a Xerox salesman rather than return the oil business so that he could pursue the path of entrepreneurship. He goes on to explain the rest of his successes and failures with the point being that you have to learn from your mistakes in order to find the right path for you. (there’s also a little bit of Seth Godin’s The Dip in there, where you don’t settle for your local maximum)
Many of the other chapters are like this, very high level, and it’s something that JD of Get Rich Slowly complained about in our chat the other day. The problem with being at such a high level is that it requires the reader to bring it down to the street level, where you take those ideas and act on them. If I remember correctly, JD wasn’t a big fan of that because sometimes we need actionable advice and this book just doesn’t deliver on it.
I have a different take, I appreciate the high level look and brain stimulation. I never thought about the impact of coming off the gold standard (I am only 27) and some of the other viewpoints brought on by Kiyosaki and so I welcome the ideas he’s pushing. Some of them aren’t too groundbreaking, but some of them do intrigue me.
If you’re looking for or need a step by step guide or something like that, I don’t think you’ll like this book very much. If you are looking for something high level, I think this one may stir up your brain a little and get those juices flowing.